Dreams Come True for First Nations Young People at Gold Coast Gathering 2019
The recent Indigenous gathering on the Gold Coast was a sure hit, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees from all around QLD and Northern NSW came together to share their journey, celebrate their culture and build friendships.
“Gatherings are key events for our Indigenous trainees and staff members that we hold every two years around the country,” said QLD State Manager, Luke Morgan.
“They give trainees a chance to connect with each other, build leadership, cultural affirmation and network with mentors and field officers. They also give staff members an opportunity to bond with trainees and deepen their understanding of Indigenous Culture.”
Over three fun-filled days, 46 trainees embarked on an adventure of a life time. First stop was a scenic walk to Burleigh Hill, where the trainees walked along the beautiful Tallebudgera Creek and through the Burleigh Hill National Park. Trainees got to view the Gold Coast skyline whilst overlooking the pristine beaches that the Gold Coast has to offer.
Proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman, Jaeda Lenoy, a School based Kmart Trainee from Townsville in QLD, described the nature hikes as “the perfect way to mingle with the other trainees.”
“It’s great to engage with other trainees and ask questions like ‘who’s your mob, where are you from? what job do you have?’, being able to be you and to be free. To be proud of your culture, your people, your land, and to meet people who you may share the same language,” she said.
Trainees and staff stayed at the Gold Coast Recreation Centre at Palm Beach where night one saw the trainees challenged by a trivia and games night.
On day 2 it was an early start as trainees travelled on route to Australia’s biggest theme park, Dreamworld.
“This was a dream come true as myself and many trainees had never been to Dreamworld before,” exclaimed Jaeda.
The day began at Dreamworld Corroboree where trainees learnt about the history and culture of the Gold Coast region. Followed by fire making and body painting where colours were sourced from the earth.
“We also got to hear from an elder named Sid Doyle from the Moreton Bay Region who came to talk to us about what a great opportunity we have in our traineeships and how we can learn and develop as individuals whilst getting mentored by Field Officers and Indigenous Mentors.
“He also discussed the importance of continually trying to upskill yourself and ask as many questions as possible to learn in their respective roles.”
After the Corroboree, trainees had the chance to explore the park, enjoying all of the rides, Tiger shows and all the wildlife that was on offer.
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and all the trainees had such great fun!”
Following a jam-packed day at Dreamworld trainees went back to camp where former QLD Indigenous Mentor, Marcia, hosted an art class.
“We all each had tiles and were invited to paint our own personal journey, culture or passions. It was a beautiful and empowering experience where we got to really connect to our culture in a creative way.”
On the last day of the gathering former Brisbane Broncos NRL player, Jharal Yow Yeh, visited the trainees to talk about his upbringing and his journey to becoming an elite athlete.
“It was inspiring to listen to the stories of an elite athlete, someone who many of the trainees greatly admire. I felt really proud to be a young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman.
The whole gathering experience deepened by connection to culture. It brought all of the Indigenous trainees together so we can make new friendships and create memories of a lifetime. It also gave me an opportunity to just have fun and not to worry about work or school, I was able to live in the moment and enjoy the company of those who I was surrounded by.”
Luke Morgan said, “We have received great feedback from trainees, schools and parents saying that they all had a great time and came home exhausted and with many stories to share.”
AFL SportsReady’s trainee gatherings build positive and lasting relationships. This is just one part of the model of support we provide to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees to help them through the traineeship program.
If you would like to find out more about our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander program, Warumilang, and the services we offer from traineeships, direct employment, cadetships, mentoring and cultural awareness click here.
DATE: 28th of May 2019
AUTHOR: Marissa Pagliarello
IMAGE: Group photo of all Indigenous trainees who attended the Gold Coast Gathering